Automated verification of Telegram’s MTProto 2.0 in the symbolic model


MTProto 2.0 is the suite of security protocols for instant messaging at the core of the popular Telegram messenger application. In this paper we analyse MTProto 2.0 using ProVerif, a state-of-the-art symbolic security protocol verifier based on the Dolev–Yao model. We provide the first formal symbolic model of MTProto 2.0; in this model, we provide fully automated proofs of the soundness of authentication, normal chat, end-to-end encrypted chat, and rekeying mechanisms with respect to several security properties, including authentication, integrity, secrecy and perfect forward secrecy. At the same time, we discover that the rekeying protocol is vulnerable to an unknown key-share (UKS) attack. To achieve these results, we proceed in an incremental way: each protocol is examined in isolation, relying only on the guarantees provided by the previous ones and the robustness of the basic cryptographic primitives. The importance of this research is threefold. First, it proves the formal correctness of MTProto 2.0 with respect to most relevant security properties. Secondly, we isolate the aspects of cryptographic primitives that escape the symbolic model and thus require further investigation in the computational model. Finally, our modelisation can serve as a reference for the implementation and analysis of clients and servers.